DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

28 April 2015

What the old folks get up to on a Monday

Along with the slowing down and the occasional aches and pains of ageing, there are also many pleasures. They are too many to count, they change all the time and they're often simple things that aren't noticed or not possible when you're younger and working for a living. Yesterday's particular pleasure was roast lamb for Monday's lunch. What decadence! It's an innocent pleasure, a real part of Australian family life and something to share with you all on this cool Autumn day.



My sister and I grew up knowing two things: mum and dad were always right and, come hell or high water, there would be a roast lunch on Sunday. It could have been pork, chicken or a rolled beef roast but mostly it was lamb. Dad would usually do the cooking on Sunday and mum would help serve and wash up. Along with the meat there would be potatoes, pumpkin, onion, peas, carrots and gravy. Afterwards there was sometimes a dessert of an apple pie or steamed pudding with custard. It was all cooked from scratch and always delicious. We didn't have a lot of money but mum always brought good food.

I like slow cooked lamb so I put the leg in the hot oven around 7am and after 30 minutes reduced the temperature to 160C. It sat there roasting till about 11am when I added potatoes, pumpkin and onion and turned up the heat again.  At 11.30am I removed the lamb, put it on a plate, wrapped it in foil and covered it with a clean tea towel. When the vegetables were cooked, I removed them from the roasting pan, saved the juices for the gravy and started boiling a broccoli head.

I had home made mint sauce in the cupboard so that was added to the plate of steaming roast lamb and vegies. I thought of all those people out there having a sandwich and a cuppa for lunch, all those people eating a burger and chips, and all those who had nothing. I wished I could have shared lunch with anyone who was hungry. We'll be eating this lamb today as lamb curry with rice and I'll give some to Sunny for her tea when she picks up Jamie this afternoon. There is nothing worse than having to cook a meal when you've been on your feet for hours, working. A good curry made with roast lamb should help Sunny unwind after work and know she is loved.

And for dessert?  We're harvesting our backyard oranges at the moment and even though they look a bit green and are marked in places, they're as juicy and sweet as the best orange you're ever likely to buy. In fact these oranges are better than those you buy.  Nothing better on a warmish autumn day than to finish off lunch with an organic orange.



I baked a banana buttermilk cake yesterday as well. It's for morning teas during the week. Usually I add walnuts to a banana cake but as Hanno is still having problems with his teeth, I added thick pieces of banana instead. Delicious! I'll be doing that again.

There is enough leftover lamb for at least two more meals. I think I'll make up all of it into a curry today and then I won't have to cook lunch again until Thursday. Many people think cooking from scratch takes longer, and sometimes it does, but there are ways of saving time too. I would have spent about 15 minutes yesterday peeling vegetables and making gravy. Today it will be another 15 minutes spent preparing the curry. That's not too bad - 30 minutes all up for our main meal over three days. And maybe I'll be able to stretch it even further. :- )  What are your tricks for saving time when you're cooking?


30 comments:

  1. Everything looks wonderful! I am not a fan of eating the same food two days in a row so I do quite a bit of freezer cooking now that we are just two here. Many meals that I cook are eat once and freeze for five more meals. I shop my freezer and move meals to the refrigerator to thaw for the next day. I have quite a list of recipes that freeze and reheat very well and we enjoy more time to do things we enjoy since meals are not all cooked from the beginning each day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do a similar thing, Lana, and it's amazing how much variety you can get in your weekly meals doing that.

      Delete
    2. I have been trying to do this too, but don't have a lot of recipes that freeze well. I'd love some resources on good "freezer meals" if anyone can share what works for them....
      -Jaime

      Delete
    3. I freeze pasta sauce that I make from scratch, soups that are not creamy or contain potatoes freeze well but if they have pasta I cook and add it when we are ready to eat it. I have a baked bean recipe that we like that makes enough for 4 meals so three meals worth go into the freezer. Chili freezes well. I freeze meat and gravy together in a container and then thaw and cook with noodles. I freeze chicken and broth together and it gets cooked with rice or you could add noodles/veg for a soup. I keep cooked shredded chicken frozen in 2 cup amounts. After a holiday turkey meal I freeze turkey, stuffing and gravy together in packages for later so that we do not have to eat all of it at once. I find that pasta casseroles freeze well but need to be thawed before baking so that they do not get mushy. Lasagna freezes well. I cut a pan into 12 squares and wrap each in plastic wrap and then put them into freezer bags. I can take out just enough squares for a meal. I keep packages of chopped ham in 1/2 cup amounts after we make a big ham. It can easily be added to so many things and the 1/2 cup amounts are easy to multiply for a recipe. Some recipes can be partially done and frozen as a starter. One example is a cream based sausage pasta sauce that we like. I cook the sausage and veg and seasonings together and freeze in meal size amounts. Those get thawed and finished with the cream and served over fresh cooked pasta. Taco meat freezes well. Shredded BBQ pork for sandwiches is great to have on hand. I make a large batch of filling for fajitas and freeze containers of it for later. Dry beans and brown rice can be cooked ahead and frozen but this is not something I do since we do not like the texture after freezing. I hope this helps! I love having a freezer stocked with meals! I do not do freezer cooking days but rather just do large batches and eat one meals worth and freeze the rest.

      Delete
    4. Thank you, Lana!! This is wonderfully helpful and so kind of you to take the time to write it out for me :)
      -Jaime

      Delete
  2. The other day we wanted to make some lamb mince into moussaka. I made 500g mince into twice as much with onion, carrot, celery, half a courgette, green peppers, frozen mushrooms, garlic, 3 tins of tomatoes and 3 handfuls of oats. I prefried the meat and fresh/frozen veg, and cooked it all in the slow cooker. My DH prepared most of the veg the night before and I did loads of onions, putting the leftover onion in the freezer.. The next day I assembled the moussakas (3x2 portions) and made cheese sauce for the top. As I started the cheese sauce, I decided to make macaroni cheese, so I made extra cheese sauce. I cooked the pasta, and at the same time kept stirring the cheese sauce and whipped out some frozen onion and bacon bits and fried them to add to the mac cheese. I was shattered and had a couple of rests but that produced 5 main meals for 2. We had 1 moussaka tonight and will have 1 mac cheese tomorrow.
    When I make say, curry, I caramelise loads of onions, carrot and celery and then add meat and/or other veg and spices. Any leftover onion or onion/carrot/celery goes in the freezer to be a base for curry/spag bol/chilli etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you Attila, I cook the majority of our meals based on that classic trio of onions, carrots and celery. I'd never thought to caramelise and freeze for later though. I'll be doing that today when I make up our curry. Thanks for sharing, it's a great tip!

      Delete
  3. As we are a family of 6 a roast doesn't last more than two meals... I always make extra gravy and this is added to whatever meat is left over and reheated for tea the next night. When I cook a chicken I usually cook two and use the second one for is used for sandwiches and salads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle, I do the reheat with leftover gravy too. It's a great way to make a quick and easy extra meal.

      Delete
  4. When I still had 5 kids at home I batch cooked on weekends. A big 18 quart cooker meant we ate well and put several meals in the freezer every weekend. Such a relief on week nights to just "heat and eat"=-).
    Now we are just two, but I still do double and triple batches. I work 10 - 6 for 6 days a week and hubby doesn't mind leftovers at all - well as long as it's not all in a row! And I do the onion carrot celery peppers thing too. First of the month when I do my big shopping, I come home and chop the veggies, saute and freeze them. A month's work of yummy cooking in a 2 gallon freezer bag, and little or no waste!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations on your new little grand-daughter. How lovely.
    We always had a roast on Sunday when we were kids. Cold on Monday and Mom would serve apple pie and custard for 'afters'. Nobody could cook apple pie like my Mom, crispy pastry and succulent apples inside.

    ReplyDelete
  6. CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby girl!
    i have no idea what it's like to be a grandma yet as non of mine are even thinking about babies, too busy working.
    your lamb roast looks so delicious! i remember those sundays, there was always a roast on sundays. not until i grew up, but i could never figure out why we had it only on sundays. it's been a long time since i've cooked a roast, now that the weather has cooled i might start doing them, except it won't be on sundays though as i help out at our local markets but any time during the week will do
    mmm, banana loaf yummmmmm
    i started oil swishing for my teeth & it has helped, took me a long time to get in & do it & now i don't have sensitive teeth & the decay behind my front teeth has even smoothed out, been doing it just over a month now, might be something hanno could try?
    hope you have a great week
    thanx for sharing
    selina from kilkivan qld

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are making me so hungry.
    I like to slow roast pork forequarter chops (covered in alfoil) for a pseudo roast dinner.
    Of course there's never any left overs!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I always make lamb shoulder chops for Easter, but we had four left, so I made them into Scotch Broth yesterday for dinner, with homemade scallion and herb bread. Very hearty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I love scotch broth too! I have neck chops on my shopping list this week so it will make a few meals for us in the coming weeks.

      Delete
  9. And now I want nothing more but roast lamb and roast potatoes with gravy and mint sauce!! :) I'm not a huge fan of cool weather, but there is something so wonderful about having the oven on and the smell of a roast cooking, warming up the house :)

    Also that banana cake looks delicious too! Any chance you've shared the recipe somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure Larissa. I'll post it later in the week. xx

      Delete
  10. All that food likes so yummy, especially that banana bread :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have fond memories of the Sunday roasts!! Mostly we had lamb roasts as they were cheap as .. Followed by baked rice custard or baked apple pie ! With the leftover lamb mum would mince the lamb & make fritters or a pie with potatoe on top ! These days I too prepare my meals when I'm well enough too and freeze them ahead for the bad days ! Roasts always are good meals to freeze for me ! I also like make quiches and freeze too .just got to remember to get them out of the freezer but that's another story lol

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Rhonda,
    CONGRATULATIONS on the birth of your beautiful granddaughter Eve - great name by the way ;-)
    Your roast dinner looks delicious and I would love to have your gravy recipe (I'm ashamed to say mine comes out of packet)
    I have also been searching for your chocolate buttermilk cake recipe too!
    Just recently I have not been well (Pneumonia) and have not felt like cooking at all but luckily I had a couple of frozen meals that just needed defrosting. But my time saving meals are slow cooked in my crock pot or a salad in the summer!
    I just wanted to ask you if you think that vegetables need full sun to grow only I am planning to put a raised bed at the end of my garden but it is mostly in the shade?
    Eve xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're feeling better now, Eve.

      Most vegetables need sun to grow well but a few can get by with partial shade. They are the fast growing leafy greens - spinach, chard and lettuce.

      http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/yoghurt-chocolate-cake.html

      Delete
  13. Hi Rhonda, congratulations to you and the new mum on the new bubs :-)
    Your post about roast lamb on Sundays took me back to my childhood when Dad would go to church on his own on Sunday morning (he was in the choir) while I stayed home and helped Mum get lunch ready, and it was usually roast lamb. I don't remember her roasting pork or beef, and we only had chicken twice a year when Dad killed one of our chooks for Easter and Christmas.
    Mum used to make Cottage/Shepherds Pie out of the leftover roast lamb, but as there were five of us, she had to bulk it up with vegies. Love the way you put bits of whole banana in the cake instead of mashing it! Looking forward to seeing that recipe on the forum.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations to you all on the new arrival. I saw the post on my phone, but wanted to wait until I was on my computer to post a comment (I hate trying to pick out all the teeny tiny letters - no prizes for guessing how much I don't love texting!), but I can't find your announcement post!

    Anyway, it's truly delightful news and I hope Shane and Sarndra and Alex all settle in well with their new daughter/sister. I'm sure you and Hanno are itching to get up there to see them!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your lunch sounds delicious Rhonda!
    I have a few freezer friendly meals to add
    I always make a pie from left over roast meat just by chopping up the meat, adding leftover gravy from the roast and add any leftover vegies chopped up, put into a pie dish and add a sheet of puff pastry and into the freezer.
    Any mince dishes freeze well - lasagna, meatloaf, kofta, bolognaise.
    Soup is another great one - I made a type of minestrone from the crisper vegies, pasta, homemade passatta and a rind off the parmesan (I save them in the freezer) and it made enough lunchs for 9 days for only a few $$.
    Pizza dough freezes really well too.
    Loved reading everyones ideas.
    Cheers,
    Jan x

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's it !! I am coming for lunch, dear Rhonda.,.. Lamb is my all time favourite meat and as it is so expensive here we seldom have it .. We used to raise lamb in the 70s... How I miss that little hobby farm.. Enjoyed your post so much..Your cake is awesome.. God bless.. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be waiting by the front door, Faye.

      Delete
  17. I do a big cook up when I come back from the Farmer's Market...that's today! At this time of year I buy lots off eggplants, zucchini and capsicum, and with my own tomato sauce and garlic, I make a huge pot of ratatouille........a couple of serves are kept aside for lunch or dinner, and the rest I freeze. I mix up what I serve it with each time....pasta, rice or .polenta. Lentil curry is my other favourite to ook and freeze, and each time I serve it a little differently......thin it out and make it into soup, or add tofu cubes, extra greens maybe.....always with rice. I make lots of vegetable soups too to freeze, adding beans or lentils that I've soaked and are partly sprouted........the remainder of the sprouts go to the chooks. I love to be able to come in from walking the dog in the evening and tired after a day gardening, and put the food on to heat, and by the time the animals are fed, I have a hot nutritious meal ready for myself.

    Your little granddaughter is a picture, such joy she'll bring to the family. I have 3 granddaughters and recently, a great-granddaughter....babies are wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congrats Rhonda and thanks for such an inspiring post. We have kids week on, week off, so we often cook a roast on Sunday and eat leftovers, like you.
    My food prep tip when we have the kids is to go to the market on Sunday, and cut up all veggies before they go back into the fridge. I bought some décor veg storage containers on special (cheaper than Tupperware and super effective). I cut up capsicum, celery, carrot as the basis for week day salads (just add lettuce and fresh tomato) in one container for salads; and in the other, I cut up broc, cauliflower, spinach, carrot and beans in another (or fresh seasonal versions of this - zucchini in summer) for a veg side, for meals during the week. I also batch cook - kids go crazy if we don't have spag bol on a Monday night, so I cook up 10kgs of spag bol each term holidays to get us through. Love these time saving ideas (particularly love the onion, carrot and celery cook up and freeze).

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...